Thousands evacuated as volcano erupts in Philippines

Manila, Jan 14 (IANS) Thousands of people have been moved to safe shelters following the eruption of Mt. Mayon in the Philippines, police said on Sunday.

The volcano, located to the southeast of Luzon Island and around 350 km from Manila, has erupted up to three times in the last 24 hours, Efe news agency reported.

The last eruption was recorded at 11.43 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, according to Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

The authorities have warned people off a six-km radius around the volcano, and have issued a level 2 alert as concern grew over the possibility of stronger and more dangerous eruptions.

So far, the volcano has generated clouds of smoke and spewed ash.

Local media reports said residents have also reported loud rumblings and a smell of sulphur emanating from the volcano.

The authorities have also imposed restrictions on flights flying in and out of the area.

The biggest eruption in the history of the country was that of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991, which left around 850 people dead and affected over a million.

The Philippine archipelago is situated on the so-called Ring of Fire, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity around the Pacific Ocean, and has 23 active volcanoes.

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